There is no way the Tasman community can avoid the extra cost of ensuring future water security, says Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones.

Jones is meeting the Tasman mayor tomorrow to discuss the $102 million Waimea Dam.

There is concern the council is being expected to pay too much to try and cover a $26 million funding gap.

Jones says if they don't accept the Crown's grant and loan offer of around $39 million, they must absorb the entirety of the costs themselves.


"This is not a time for making decisions on the basis of astrological charts. Economic rationality and long term confidence is absolutely needed."

"You have an opportunity to work with the Crown and if you miss this opportunity then I can assure you, the money will be well spent elsewhere."

The Government is giving the project $7 million, and around $32 million in loans.

Although the project has stirred up controversy, as the Government moves away from funding large scale irrigation schemes, Nicky Hyslop sees it as a positive move.

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"It's about locals and it's about jobs and its about also providing some environmental restoration to the Waimea River."

The Chair of Irrigation New Zealand spoke to The Country's Jamie Mackay saying the Waimea Dam project will be of great benefit to the Tasman region.

"I just cannot overstate that this is a community water storage project and this is about being able to provide this particular region with absolute resilience going forward."